Hamas fires rockets at Tel Aviv for first time in four months

An Israeli police officer stands next to the remains of a rocket after rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip towards Israel, amid the ongoing conflict in Gaza between Israel and Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, in Herzliya, Israel May 26 2024. (Photo: Reuters)
An Israeli police officer stands next to the remains of a rocket after rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip towards Israel, amid the ongoing conflict in Gaza between Israel and Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, in Herzliya, Israel May 26 2024. (Photo: Reuters)

Summary

The barrage was launched from Rafah, Gaza, which remains under attack by Israel’s military.

TEL AVIV—Hamas militants in Rafah on Sunday fired eight rockets at the Tel Aviv region, the Israeli military said, marking the first time that Israel’s densely populated core has been targeted in four months.

Israeli paramedics said no one was injured by the rockets, some of which were intercepted by air defenses, according to the military.

Even so, the barrage signals that Hamas remains capable of threatening Israel from the city in southern Gaza that is the focus of an expanding Israeli offensive.

The rocket barrages aimed at the Tel Aviv region, which were common in the earliest months of the war between Israel and Hamas, have all but stopped. The last such set of launches aimed at central Israel took place four months ago, according to a spokesman for Israel’s military.

Israel says that it is fighting the last organized battalions of Hamas in Rafah, on the border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt, and searching for hostages being held by the U.S.-designated terrorist organization.

More than 800,000 Palestinians have fled Rafah in recent weeks ahead of and during Israeli operations there, according to the United Nations, but hundreds of thousands of others remain in the city’s crowded streets. Ongoing fighting there has complicated efforts to bring much needed humanitarian aid into the enclave.

Israel has struggled to maintain legitimacy in the eyes of other nations for its operations in Rafah.

The U.N.’s highest court, the International Court of Justice, on Friday ordered Israel to halt military operations that could lead to the complete or partial destruction of the Palestinian population in Rafah.

Israel said it would continue to operate in Rafah while saying that it hasn’t broken humanitarian law in its conduct of the war.

The Biden administration has been asking Israel to refrain from launching any large-scale operations in crowded areas of the city.

Separately on Saturday, Hamas claimed that it had captured Israeli soldiers during fighting in Jabalia, a city in northern Gaza, in circumstances that remain unclear.

The Israeli military quickly denied the claims that any soldier had been taken captive by the group.

If Hama’s claims are true, it would be the first capture of an Israeli soldier in Gaza since the start of the war in October.

Write to Dov Lieber at dov.lieber@wsj.com

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